empathy

“Out Of Dung The Flowers Do Grow”

"—Do you believe in fate, Neo?

—No.

—Why not?

—Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my life.

—I know *exactly* what you mean. Let me tell you why you're here. You're here because you know something. What you know you can't explain, but you feel it. You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?" —The Matrix, 1999

It appears to be a similar feeling that brings artist Kevin A. Rausch, day after day, to the confines of his studio. That feeling of discovery, both inner and outer; that search for a meaning that feels, for a lack of a better term, real. After all, isn't that what we are all after? And he, too, has taken the red pill — at least so much is apparent by the look of some of his paintings. Do you remember "the desert of the real," where Morpheus first blows Neo's innocent mind with harsh words about our illusions of reality? If so, then you'll immediately find its resemblance to this painting:

"silence is closer," mixed media canvas, 450x195 cm triptych, 2013

Which is not to say that Rausch's work is all dark and gloomy. It's really not. If anything, it's a Pandora's box: all those gray and dark tones are but a thick veil to the baby blues and rosy tints that, like a glimmer of hope, hide underneath. Other times, these hues of hope is all there is: 

"pink drama" or "someday I found myself," mixed media canvas, 150 x 200cm, 2014

What intrigues me most about this artist's work, really, is the way he balances the obviously dark and the seemingly cute. I mean, his palette tends to be muddy and heavy with certainly more than fifty shades of gray, yet look at some of his light titles: "milk and honey," "what a funny day," "tomorrow," "hidden, a young painter's love." At first glance, I see a painter that is both nostalgic and hopeful about life, but not disregarding for one second the darkness that one must often navigate through as we search for peace, serenity and beauty.

"hidden, a young painters love," mixed media on canvas, 270x 220cm, 2012

But because first glances aren't everything and, like anyone outside of the artist's own mind, we could be missing his layers of meaning completely. So Artparasites decided to pick Rausch's brain with some lighthearted questions — as we do 😉

Artparasites: What happened in the last dream you remember?

Rausch: One night, I entered into the sewer system of New York City, where President Obama was already waiting for me. We then both raced on super fast bikes, wearing chicken outfits.

Artparasites: They say (and by they I really mean me) that it is easier to talk than it is to listen. Is there a particular song that strums your heartstrings at the moment?

RauschAt the moment I’m listening to this devilish, rolling sound of wheels from an orange Volvo, somewhere in Hungary :-)

"what a funny day," mixed media on canvas, 80 x 60cm, 2012

Artparasites: If you found out that your life was a book, and you met your author, what would you say to them? 

RauschMay I burn this book?

(see, like Neo, he also doesn't like the idea of not being in control)

Artparasites: What makes you feel safe?

RauschI think my studio and my bed
.

Artparasites: I was recently reading about the psychology of messy rooms and how messiness often leads to a blossoming of creativity. Describe your studio space for us.

Kevin A. Rausch: Since yesterday, the studio is again super clean. Clean as a cat, in fact. As long as no garbage mountain is seen in the studio, having a little dirt is very good — I don’t like it being so sterile. After all, "Nothing grows out of precious diamonds… Out of dung, the flowers do grow." (Fabrizio De André)

Inside the studio of Kevin A. Rausch

Artparasites: If you had a tagline, what would it be?

RauschDiablo Deluxe

(that must come from the devilish, Volvo wheels he’s been listening to…)

Artparasites: What was the last adorable thing you saw?

RauschOne of my fresh paintings with the title "we lost beauty," which comes from a song by Yage.
 Also a concert from Valina at the Rhiz Bar in Vienna.

Artparasites: What is a version of you in an alternate reality doing right now? 

RauschBeing Batman.

Artparasites: When are you vulnerable?


RauschEveryday!

Vulnerable but still fresh, artist Kevin A. Rausch

Artparasites: What is the first thing you notice of other people?

RauschIt depends on which planet…

Artparasites: My experience is that paintings are never only paintings. Some people paint windows (frames from where to experience or peek into a different reality), others paint hammers (tools with which to bring about change), others paint mirrors (reflective surfaces from which to better see and understand their own selves), and others only paint love letters (containers of devotion). So what does Kevin A. Rausch paint? Windows, hammers, mirrors, love letters or… 

RauschCome to my opening the 11th of September and you will see!

Well played, Rausch, well played. He's referring to his part in the group show "Berlin Meets Vienna" at Galerie Villa Köppe and the upcoming Positions Berlin Art Fair during the annual Berlin Art Week. But he's absolutely right: the real experience with any painting happens in person, face to surface; only there do you really get to see how deep the rabbit hole, whether full of dung or flowers, goes.

  • Positions Berlin Art Fair – Kaufhaus Jandorf, Berlin-MitteGalerie Villa Köppe Booth (K08 / SW03) – September 18 – 21, 2014